Cover Industrial designer Linde Freya Tangelder. Portrait photography: Valentina Sommariva

Industrial designer Linde Freya Tangelder delights in material experiments that take a cue from architectural influences

Dutch designer Linde Freya Tangelder considers the cyclical process of destruction and creation as being intrinsic to her work. “I am building something and destroying it again. I’m finding new versions and selecting the best ones, and trying new perspectives. For me [to destroy and build] is another way of saying ‘to design’,” explains the 35-year-old designer. This creative loop is the driving force behind Destroyers/Builders, the Brussels and Antwerp-based studio Tangelder runs.

Combining formal elements from architecture with an interest in materiality, Tangelder’s projects have been more typically produced in limited editions. However, with her new collaboration with Italian manufacturer Cassina, the designer’s work will be made available to a wider audience; in Singapore, Cassina is carried by local retailer W. Atelier.

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Under Cassina’s new Patronage programme, Tangelder travelled to Turin last year for a design residency. Besides manufacturing the Soft Corners collection that Tangelder designed, the Italian firm has also supported the launch of Tangelder’s new monograph and two exhibitions that showcased her recent work. Here, she tells us more about her latest projects at the Cassina showroom in June during Milan Design Week.

Could you tell us more about your creative philosophy?

Linde Freya Tangelder (LFT) I am inspired by materials like stone or brick in large-scale architectural projects; I translate [these details] into an interior product. I like to fuse materiality with historical and new elements so that the outcome is contemporary and linked to another reference in time.

How did your residency in Turin shape your work for Cassina?

LFT I have a fascination with stone as it’s something that you can see everywhere when you travel, especially in the Mediterranean. In Belgium, building with stone is not so common in the cities. In Turin, we saw different ways of building stone walls. I was inspired by the stone masonry way of stacking these blocks on top of each other. I wanted to translate this into a series with open and closed volumes; [that’s why] the aluminium side tables are hollow.

The Cassina collection has rounded forms that have a soft appearance, hence the name of the series, Soft Corners. I like to find contrasts, which are very typical of my work: the soft and hard, the shiny and matte.

What were the biggest challenges of this project?

LFT The detailing. We wanted to make this block-like shape [look] organic. There were some issues we had to solve to have hidden lines, and we made this as beautifully as possible. And we wanted to do [a version] in leather as well. That’s a completely different material compared to textile, and it needed a different prototype. Another problem we had to solve for the side table was about the finish; I wanted this cloudy, hand-brushed steel-like texture.

Which materials are you most interested in now, and why?

LFT Glass. It’s a material that I want to explore further in both limited-edition products for a gallery in Antwerp, and a new direction that I hope to continue with Cassina: to think about glass for another family of furniture.

There are also different types of stone that I’ve recently become interested in. There’s a sandstone that I really like, with a lot of gradients in it that’s completely different from marble. Marble is not a material for me because it’s a little too luxurious. I like it when it’s a more subtle stone with colourful differences; a little like the roughness of brick, which I like.

What keeps you inspired?  

LFT Architecture in general, such as the SESC Pompéia Factory by Lina Bo Bordai in São Paulo, Brazil. I like the contrast between the concrete building and the very rigid shapes and the very fluid windows they have. It’s quite organic, the way you move through it. 
I lived in Brazil for half a year, during my internship with Studio Campana. There is so much life in that city. Art and architecture are so relevant there in São Paulo. The good thing about architecture is that it’s everywhere so it’s an easy way to find inspiration. You’re directly influenced by your surroundings. 

Complete this sentence: You would never find ____ in my home and why?

LFT A TV screen. I don’t watch TV. When I watch, I watch something on my laptop something that’s back in time. I don’t want a TV screen so prominent in my space, I like it when my living area is more focused on art. I like it to be more sculptural.

[My home] is a bit fluid; it’s like an atelier and a house, the fluidness of the living and work. There are always samples and materials lying around, collections, glass and stones that I find. The different materialities are very important.  

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